Visualizing the final stage of genocide: August Froehlich’s early representation of the Holocaust in sequential art

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic


Maus, Art Spiegelman’s monumental work, is often not only considered to be the most canonical comic strip about the Holocaust, but it is also regularly considered to be the oldest comic on the destruction of European Jewry. Research in recent years has shown that comics on this subject were already produced during the Nazi era, both in countries that were directly confronted with the reality of National Socialist ideology as well as in other, non-occupied nations. To what extent we now have a complete picture of all comic strips that, to a substantial extent, refer to the Holocaust is still very much the question. Relevant comic strips that appeared in book form (such as the albums in the Franco-Belgian comics context) are probably the easiest to identify, while shorter or serialized comic strips in magazines are generally much less easy to oversee. In addition, comics have also appeared in publications that are less obvious (or less familiar) from the point of view of contemporary comics studies. An example of this is the work of August Froehlich, an American artist who not only worked as an illustrator in the film industry but also earned his spurs as an author of realistic and fictional American comic books. In 1944, somehow linked to this, he created the first documentary sequential narrative about the final phase of the Holocaust as part of a political brochure aimed at a US audience. In my presentation, I will discuss this forgotten work and aim to reflect on these more hybrid manifestations of comic art, in particular in the early decades when the recognizable forms of comic strips was less standardized than in later decades.
Period28 May 2019
Event titleBeyond Maus: The Legacy of Holocaust Comics
Event typeConference
LocationGraz, AustriaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational